Several Chinese provinces have started rationing electricity in the face of soaring coal prices and low river levels, underscoring warnings from officials that power shortages could be more severe than usual this year, the Financial Times reported. China experiences power cuts each summer, but regions like Hunan, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Anhui, Shanghai and Chongqing have implemented cuts earlier than in past years. Electricity companies have been facing financial pressure from increasing global energy costs, but Beijing hasn’t allowed state-controlled electricity prices to rise because of inflation concerns. The China Electricity Council said on Tuesday that Chinese power producers suffered losses of US$2.8 billion during the first quarter of 2011. It added that China would “face its most severe electricity shortage since 2004” and predicted that there would be a national shortage of 30 million kilowatt hours this summer – which equates to the consumption of three Chongqings.